De Trinitate - Piotr Tabakiernik

The piece does not aspire to be a theological treatise. It is rather the result of attentive text reading, which makes our voice unwittingly rise in song. In the face of the Mystery to which it turns, I would rather remain silent, after all, even as an artist. Still, it is “silence that allows the unspeakable to turn into song.”I therefore cautiously follow the successive words, aware of the fact that ultimately there is only one Word: “At nobis ars una fides, et musica Christus.”The successive texts lead me deeper and deeper, though in this context deeper does not mean closer at all. “ The destination of our journey is the same as the starting point: the Divine Source, whose depth we cannot measure.”Knowing this, I do not stop, but continue to penetrate ever newer spheres of tradition and culture, to discover countless images, contexts, comparisons, and approximations. This is what inspires me to create, and to live. “In tantum vivimus, in quantum beatam Trinitatem cognoscimus.”I know that it is an impossible task and that no whole will emerge out of this work. Still, perhaps even this fragment of my own will direct my eyes and ears—at least fora moment—in that direction where all our yearnings eventually turn. “Music is the form that brings us the closest to the spirit, the thinnest veil that separates us from the spirit. Nevertheless, it shares the tragic fate of all art, and must remain a longing, a temporary state. This longing is the strongest in music precisely because music is the closest we can get to the spirit, though we still cannot comprehend it all. ... Music is the limit of what is human, and beyond this limit, the Divine begins.”I do not consider my work as something divine, unusual and spiritual—I do not have Scriabin’s or Stockhausen’s ambitions, I do not feel such a need. Life itself is divine and spiritual by nature. 

Here are brief notes that may make it easier to follow my De Trinitate:

A vocal ensemble, an instrumental ensemble and some electronics. This is the acoustic “body” of the work. 

The solo cello is a bit like the soul inside that body. 

Three “movements,” each divided into three segments. 

Movement OneTrinitas – mysterium fidei. Themystery of the faith. Road to the Summit. The soul calls on the Trinity, asking It to lead her to Itself. The soul is aware that this will be a journey through the darkness of the FAITH, since our sight is blinded by the light of the Mystery (I). The soul sets out on its journey, learning to recognise shapes in the impenetrable darkness and to name them, so as not to get lost (II). Eventually, facing the Imposing Presence, it asks for Grace, without which no true progress can be made on this path (III). 

Movement TwoTrinitas – mare profundum. The deep sea. The paradox of the curious journey, during which a road uphill proves to be a path deep into oneself, while the summit turns out to be a bottomless abyss (I). The trustful soul, supported only by HOPE, throws itself o the rock, forgetting itself, and in this depth it sings out its innermost longings (II). Words fail her, and she gives up her own voice in favour of the eternal song of the Church (III). 

Movement ThreeTrinitas – amica silentii. Friend of silence. The soul realises that it has always been equally close to its aim, only she could not see it. She sees its destination now thanks to LOVE (I), clutches at this sight and wants to live by this aim, follow it, “possess it so that she can be possessed” (Philippians 3:12) (II). She understands at last that she cannot add anything more, and immersed in the loving adoration, she sings with the whole universe its eternal song of silence. The melody still echoes in her ears: Christianity’s oldest hymn that has survived to our time along with music notation among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri – Hymn of the Trinity (III). 

Piotr Tabakiernik 

Benedict XVI, A New Song for the Lord, Crossroad Publishing Company, New York.

St Paulinus of Nola, Carmen XX/32, “To us, faith is the only art, and Christ is the music.” 

Bishop Anders Arborelius OCD, quoted after Trójca Święta [The Holy Trinity]in: Medytacje o wierze [Meditations on Faith]Flos Carmeli, 2012.

Rupertus Tuitensis,De operibus Spiritus Sancti, Liber IX, Caput XXIV, OperaWe only live inasmuch as we know the blessed Trinity.” 

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Rozwój idei muzycznej [ The Development of Musical Ideas], in Pisma wybrane [Selected Writings], Kraków 2007, 2:53. 



MOVEMENT ONE: Trinitas – mysterium dei 

I Dionysius the Areopagite – The Mystical Theology, I

Trinity, which exceedeth all Being, Deity, and Goodness! Thou that instructeth Christians in Thy heavenly wisdom! Guide us to that topmost height of mystic lore which exceedeth light and more than exceedeth knowledge, where the simple, absolute, and unchangeable mysteries of heavenly Truth lie hidden in the dazzling obscurity of the secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of their darkness, and surcharging our blinded intellects with the utterly impalpable and invisible fairness of glories which exceed all beauty! 

trans. Clarence Edwin Rolt 


II The Athanasian Creed

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father Uncreate, the Son Uncreate, and the Holy Ghost Uncreate. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost Incomprehensible. 

The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Ghost Etneral and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Uncomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty. 

So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Ghost, not Three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity. 

trans. John, Marquess of Bute (1879) 


III St Ignatius of Antioch – Letter to the Ephesians, IX

... as being stones of the temple of the Father, prepared for the building of God the Father, and drawn up on high by the instrument of Jesus Christ, which is the cross, making use of the Holy Spirit as a rope, while your faith was the means by which you ascended, and your love the way which led up to God. 

trans. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885). Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. 


St Paul – Letter to the Ephesians 3:14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. 

New International Version of the Bible 


MOVEMENT TWO: Trinitas – mare profundum 

I St Catherine of Siena – The Dialogue

Oh eternal Trinity, are a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek. 

trans. Algar Thorold, Kegan Paul (London: Trench, Trubner & Co., 1907) 


II St Elizabeth of the Trinity –O my God, Trinity whom I adore

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery! Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action. 

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you— even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour. O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes xed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you, O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased. O my “Three,” my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your Splendour! 

trans. quoted after Penny Hickey (ed.), 

Drink of the Stream: Prayers of Carmelites 


III Gradual for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity – Daniel 3:55–56 

Blessed are you who look into the depths from your throne upon the cherubim. 

New American Bible, Revised Edition 


MOVEMENT THREE: Trinitas – amica silentii 

I St Augustine – De Trinitate. VIII, VIII, 12 

Well, but you will say, I see love, and, as far as I am able, I gaze upon it with my mind, and I believe the Scripture, saying, that God is love; and he that dwells in love, dwells in God; but when I see love, I do not see in it the Trinity. Nay, but you see the Trinity if you see love. 

Trans. by Arthur West Haddan. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1st Series, vol. 3. Ed. Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887). Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. 


II Saint Thérèse of Lisieux – Living on Love

Living on Love is holding You Yourself. 

Uncreated Word, Word of my God,

Ah! Divine Jesus, you know I love you.

The Spirit of Love sets me aflame with his fire. 

In loving you I attract the Father. 

My weak heart holds him forever. 

O Trinity! You are Prisoner

Of my Love!...

Quoted after Eknath Easwaran (ed.), God Makes the Rivers to Flow: 

An Anthology of the World’s Sacred Poetry and Prose 

(Tomales: Nilgiri Press, 2009) 


III Hymn of Oxyrhynchus (P. Oxy. XV 1786) 

Thee, Father of the worlds, let us praise together, all we distinguished servants of God. How many lights do heaven’s saints give to the world. Order [the world] to keep silent, and the light-giving stars – not to shine; the winds and all the owing river springs – to hush. When we praise God and Son and the Holy Spirit in hymns, let all the powers respond with: “Amen, Amen, the power and the glory for ever, and praise be to God, 

the Sole Giver of all good: Amen, Amen.” 

Trans. Tomasz Zymer from the Polish version by 

Dominika Budzanowska-Weglenda